Dr. Kathleen Ross, co-founder and first president of Heritage University, is the 2022 recipient of the Ted Robertson Community Service Award, the Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce announced Friday.
Ross’ career began as a high school teacher in Spokane, but quickly moved into higher education, focusing on cross-cultural communication. His career in higher education spans more than four decades.
In the 1970s, she served as provost of Fort Wright College of the Holy Names in Spokane, where she oversaw the creation of outreach programs in Toppenish and Omak that extended the opportunity to earn four-year college degrees to rural, minority and low-income populations. generally not served by higher education institutions.
When the sponsoring institution closed, she worked with two women from the Yakama Nation to found Heritage University and became its first president in 1982. She oversaw its growth from 85 students to more than 1,200 , resigning in 2010.
Ross continues to live in Toppenish, is an active member of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, and in 2021 completed a seven-year term as a part-time member of the International Leadership Team. order, based in Longueuil, Quebec, Canada.
The Ted Robertson Award was established in 1989 by Past Presidents/Chairmen of the Board of Directors of the Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce to annually honor individuals who have made significant contributions to the betterment of the Greater Yakima area .
Ted Robertson, former publisher of the Yakima-Herald Republic, strongly believed that good fortune earned in a community should be shared with that community.
Recipients are selected by past Chairs of the Chamber’s Board of Directors for their inspirational leadership, accomplishments, and commitment to improving our community as businesspeople and citizens of the Yakima Valley.
Ross will be honored Nov. 3 at the annual Chamber and Ted Robertson Community Service Awards celebration at the Yakima Convention Center.